Pundits Placing Blame

Bill O’Reilley’s rambling OpEd “Are You Poor?” begins with the statement, “The folks are getting hosed.”  Upon first glance, it might appear that O’Reilly is about to launch into a diatribe commiserating with the middle class who have really “gotten hosed” during the past administration’s policies of massive government spending (2 unfunded wars in the Middle East, unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy, an unfunded prescription drug plan, and outrageous, relaxation of regulations that fueled the whole housing bubble debacle).  He says that Americans are risking sinking into insolvency, and he blames the economy’s troubles on personal debt.  He says that “Some pundits place the blame on unemployment, currently just over 9%.  But that’s not what is driving consumer debt.  Taxation is.”1

Wow. Taxation is the blame for personal debt which is the blame for ruining the economy.  I’ll bet that would be news to economists.  And, I might add, consumer debt is created by consumers who borrow to spend.  Too much usually.

He gives an example of the high taxes in the state of New York.  He lists property taxes, federal income tax, and New York City income tax.  He adds sales taxes, gasoline taxes, cell phone taxes and fees, tolls, taxes on driver’s licenses, cigarettes, and alcohol.  He says, “The hits just keep on coming.”

Does this mean that New Yorkers should not be taxed?  Well, then, what would pay for the roads, schools (construction, upgrades, upkeep, teachers’ salaries), infrastructure, government employees who do (yes they do) provide a service to keep the government running?  In short, just how is a metropolis or state to function without revenues from taxes?

O’Reilly goes on to say, “Taxes are strangling working Americans.”  He blames taxes for creating a society not of self-reliance but of “institutions we can’t control—banks, credit card companies, government-generated hand-outs.”  He says, “Now the feds have seized control of the health industry.  That will mean even more taxation down the road.”

So, taxes create social dependency.  What in inference!

So, “seizure” of the health care industry will cause more taxes.  Seizure?  Really?  How about calling it what it is and that is health care insurance for every American?  Is O’Reilly naïve enough to think that people would not be able to afford a better standard of living if they did not have to “lose the farm” because of health issues?  I’d say that affordable health care will help average Americans prosper!

Then he attacks President Obama with his “big government vision” that “would create jobs and prosperity.”  He says, “It has not worked?”  Well, exactly how did Obama’s predecessor think his big government plan would affect Americans?  Did Bush foresee the near second Great Depression where the country was headed before Obama came in and salvaged the crumbling economy?

O’Reilly’s example of Obama’s plan not working?  Cuba and Venezuela.  This is the most outrageous statement so far.  It is ludicrous to compare dictator-led, authoritarian policies with those of Obama.  It is degenerative and unfair.  (See my blog “Heil Who?” for an explanation on  types of governmental control for more information.)  Surely Mr. O’Reilly knows the difference between the administrations of Obama, Castro, and Chavez.  Surely.

Republicans must find accurate measures of economic success/failure if they are to raise any sound argument for their policies.  You can’t just howl about taxes.  Our country cannot function without them.  You also cannot keep up the mantra of not having the very top wage earners ($1,000,000+) pay their fair share of taxes because they are the “job creators” who can’t be asked to pay more lest they not create more jobs.  Really?  So the likes of Paris Hilton, and Snookie would be forced to lay off their personal shoppers and stylists?

Finally, if there were a connection between higher taxes for the wealthy and job creation, the Clinton years would have seen high unemployment and the Bush years widespread prosperity.  In fact, the opposite was true.

Argue for lower taxes all you want, but if you use voodoo economics, your argument is baseless.

And when you, yourself, are a pundit, be careful where you place the blame for this sorry mess we find ourselves in.


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